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One Hundred Forty Eight Students Start College Early


August 20, 2012

Karen Anderson
Bard College at Simon's Rock

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—On Saturday, August 18, 148 students arrived at Bard College at Simon's Rock from across the country and around the world to begin college early. Students and families filled the McConnell Theater to capacity as Provost Peter Laipson welcomed first years to campus.

The Great Barrington, Massachusetts campus is home to over 400 bright and highly motivated early college students who typically graduate from college one or two years ahead of their peers.

In his opening remarks, Laipson described the incoming class: “Fifty percent of you are entering after completing your 10th grade year of high school, 46% your eleventh grade year, 4% your 9th grade year, and 1% your 12th grade year… an equal percentage of you coming from the New England states and the West coast and fully 11% of you coming from abroad.” He continued, “But so much more important than what you are is what you’ve done.”

Laipson held their interest as he listed their numerous talents, from performing artists, musical composers, and filmmakers, to competitive athletes, nationally ranked chess players, and Robotics and Science Bowl Team members. To a college that values community service, Laipson noted one of the most gratifying things about this class is their commitment to volunteer work.

“You… volunteer for service organizations of every stripe: food shelters, Planned Parenthood, Coats for Kids, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, Amnesty International, Special Olympics, Unicef, the Junior Humane Society, and public libraries and hospitals. One member of the class of 2012* is co-president of the Junior Atlanta branch of Children’s International Summer Villages,” Laipson explained. “Many of you spend your time working with other youth, including the least privileged in this country and abroad. One of you has volunteered with children in Botswana; another works with victims of sex trafficking in India. One of you travels two hours each way to teach piano to orphans.”

About Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College

Bard College at Simon’s Rock has been a leader in educational innovation for more than 40 years. The first early college, Simon’s Rock is the only residential college in the country specifically designed to let bright, highly motivated students start college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. Students who successfully complete the requirements receive the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree after two years of study and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree after four.

* Simon’s Rock identifies classes by their entering year.